Long Beach, CA – Ken Block and Hoonigan Industries are proud to introduce Block’s first-ever, rear-wheel-drive Gymkhana machine. Based on the loved and celebrated Ford Escort platform, which gained its storied history in European rally racing, this 1978 Ford Escort Mk2 RS is quite unlike its stage-ready counterparts. Block’s flat black and star-spangled, Rocket Bunny-kitted Mk2 was built with one specific focus in mind—to kill tires with the quickness, navigating obstacles on a Gymkhana course.
“This Escort Mk2 is special to me, it’s actually my first Ford rally car,” says Block. “I purchased it in 2008. It was designed to compete in tarmac events, but unfortunately those are quite lacking now stateside, so instead of converting it into a gravel machine, I had my team at Hoonigan Racing Division extend on its tarmac capabilities and develop it into the ultimate rear wheel-drive Gymkhana car.”
Mechanically, this Escort shares all the best parts of a top-level WRC-spec tarmac build, yet coupled with a specialized suspension setup with Gymkhana tricks in mind. Under the star-studded hood, the car packs a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder Millington motor that generates 333 naturally-aspirated horses and absolutely screams at the limit when stretched out to the 9,000 rpm redline. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox.
Block wanted to update the styling of the vehicle to something that fell in line with his current fleet of racecars. This meant one thing: a wider stance and wider arches all around. To get the job done, Block and Hoonigan contacted famed Japanese widebody designers Rocket Bunny. Their founder Kei Miura worked with Block and his team to create the world’s first Rocket Bunny Escort, borrowing inspiration from Hoonigan Racing’s current RX43 and HFHV Fiestas, the notorious Hoonicorn RTR and other well-known Rocket Bunny designs. After digitally scanning the Escort at the Hoonigan Racing HQ in Park City Utah, Miura and Rocket Bunny set of to build one of the widest and most unique kits seen on an Escort Mk2. To set off the look, the car sits on custom two-piece fifteen52 wheels wrapped in Pirelli rubber.
"This car has been something I've been working on slowly for a long time now," said Block. "I'm stoked with how the whole thing turned out. My team and Graham Quick at Quick Motorsport in the U.K. did a great job on the build of the car, Rocket Bunny did an awesome job with the exterior styling and I absolutely love how The Hoonigans took something I really love—the American flag—and remixed it into a badass graphic for the livery of this car. I’ve only been able to test this car for two days, but I'm looking forward to slaying some more tires in this thing really soon. The car absolutely rips, especially at 9,000 rpm.”
While Block and the Hoonigans are working on a bigger video project for 2016 to feature this new build, you can watch the Head Hoonigan in Charge shakedown the Gymkhana Escort at the Hoonigan Donut Garage in the video linked above. In the coming months, you’ll also be able to see some of your favorite Hoonigan athletes (in addition to Ken Block) getting behind the wheel as guest drivers. The first public appearance of the car will be this coming weekend at Monster Energy’s Gymkhana GRID Finale in the U.K. More info on that later this week.
Like the “Stars and Stripes” pattern featured on the hood of Block’s Escort? The graphic pattern from his livery is available as part of Hoonigan’s 2015 Holiday 2015 collection, available at hoonigan.com, Zumiez, Tillys and other rad retailers.